Decision-making and biases in causal-explanatory reasoning

Samuel G. B. Johnson, Marianna Zhang, Frank C. Keil

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

6 Citations (SciVal)


Decisions often rely on judgments about the probabilities of various explanations. Recent research has uncovered a host of biases that afflict explanatory inference: Would these biases also translate into decision-making? We find that although people show biased inferences when making explanatory judgments in decision-relevant contexts (Exp. 1A), these biases are attenuated or eliminated when the choice context is highlighted by introducing an economic framing (price information; Exp. 1B–1D). However, biased inferences can be “locked in” to subsequent decisions when the judgment and decision are separated in time (Exp. 2). Together, these results suggest that decisions can be more rational than the corresponding judgments—leading to choices that are rational in the output of the decision process, yet irrational in their incoherence with judgments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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